MU Block and Bridle hosts National Block and Bridle Convention

More than 200 Block and Bridle students from across the nation gathered in Jefferson City to experience Missouri agriculture.

Students pose for a photo in front of a large building.
Students from across the nation toured Missouri agricultural businesses during the National Block and Bridle Convention, hosted by MU Block and Bridle.

A committee of Mizzou Block and Bridle members planned and hosted the National Block and Bridle Convention in Jefferson City, Missouri, April 11-14. The convention included animal sciences-related speakers, farm tours across Missouri, networking and social opportunities for the students. More than 200 students from 30 schools across the country attended the convention.

A woman speaks to a room full of students.
Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn addressed Block and Bridle students on the first night of the convention.

The committee began planning the convention more than a year ago, after attending the 2023 convention in Louisiana. Each student was assigned specific responsibilities to create a cohesive and seamless convention. Committee members from MU Block and Bridle included:

  • Abby Roberts, junior, animal sciences, Committee Co-Chair
  • Carley Hopkins, senior, animal sciences, Committee Co-Chair
  • Grace Caputa, senior, animal sciences, Fundraising
  • Halley Marek, junior, agribusiness management, Accommodations and Food
  • Quincy Wiegand, senior, agribusiness management, Tours
  • Gracee Jones, junior, animal sciences, Educational Sessions
  • Alaina Link, junior, animal sciences, Committee Member
Students on a farm with a cow.
Students toured many farms and facilities that exemplify Missouri agriculture.

“Our committee spent upwards of a year preparing and ironing out every detail necessary for this convention to be successful,” said Hopkins. “Watching what started as a rough game plan on a Word document turn into an entire running convention where our hard work was finally paying off was such a fun and rewarding experience.”

“My favorite part of the process was getting to work with such a wonderful team,” said Roberts. “We had such creative minds come together from not just Animal Science but a variety of different majors. I believe that is why we did so well planning: because we all had different strengths that blended nicely.”

Missouri Director of Agriculture Chris Chinn spoke to the students to open the conference, and the following day students could choose an area of Missouri to tour. Tours included Show-Me Genetic Service, Lost Valley Hatchery, Warm Springs Ranch, Shatto Milk Company, and many more. On Saturday, the convention included educational sessions from experts in the animal sciences and veterinary medicine fields, including sessions on livestock markets and weather, global animal disease surveillance, and veterinary medicine mental health.

“From coordinating schedules and logistics to managing finances, this experience taught me the importance of effective planning and teamwork,” Link said. “Despite the challenges of balancing our academic responsibilities, jobs and other commitments, we managed to put on a convention to remember.”

Mizzou hasn’t hosted the Block and Bridle convention since 2014, so the students were eager to impress.

“This was our chance to show people from all over the country what Mizzou can do,” said Jones. “This is what Missouri agriculture looks like, and at the end of the day we are advocating for this industry, and we want people to see that we’re proud of what we do.”